The imperfect parent

It's that time of the month. I've missed it for the last few, as other things in my life have taken precedence, but I'm back - taking part in the ChicagoNow Blogapalooz-hour. This is an event where we are set a topic to blog about for one hour. Tonight we have to write about a time where we made a mistake, or were wrong about something.

I think I'll have to sit this one out... ha ha, yeah right. 

I was asked recently about my parenting style, and told my daughter is so sweet, and whatever I'm doing - it's working beautifully. How could I respond with the truth? My parenting style is one big hodge podgy of mistakes?
I'm not perfect, I've made mistakes, and most certainly will make some between now, and the next Blogapalooz-hour (next month). I'm not beating myself down, though. It's a fact.

Surely, knowing that I am going to make these mistakes, I could do something to avoid them. Nope. I don't know what they will be yet - just what they are probably going to relate to parenting like they usually do.

Parenting is full of good times, as you embrace each day wondering if it will be a nice smooth ride, where neither child will whine, say no, grind food into your pristine chairs or pull each other's hair. If you're lucky, you might pull off having them ready right on time to eject out the door to their relevant educational establishments. So,writes there are days when you all just chill as a family, and just have fun, and everything ticks along like a well oiled engine.

Then there are the other times. Times when from the moment you they arise, you are silently asking yourself if it's bedtime yet. When your fuse is short, and if they move any slower they'd be traveling back in time. The house is the polar opposite to the show home you aspire to, and the children do absolutely anything but what they are meant to be doing. Meltdowns are more frequent than planes flying overhead (we live twenty minutes away from O' Hare...), and you flip your biscuits with "word bombs" exiting your mouth left, right and centre.

Fortunately the latter type of days don't happen as often as they used to. I don't know if it's because the children are older, or if it's because I now have Mr Poppy to support me, that things are easier but I am so glad that the "dark days of autism past" are right there - the past. I have come to terms with my son's autism, and I have finally gotten over my incessant obsessing over how bad a mother I am compared to others. 

I'm never going to live up to everybody's expectations, and that was an unrealistic burden to put upon myself. Being the chilled out parent I am now works for me, and my family. The mommy wars is a real thing, and women are bitches. There are countless split opinions that fall under the mommy war category, from how you feed your children (breast or formula, or Organic versus cheaper produce), to how they sleep (crib or co-sleeping?) How about the way you provide for them, and nurture them - work or stay home? There no holds barred. Everything is up for debate. Even schooling is up for debate: school or homeschool?

If you don't  do what other people expect you to do, then you're making a mistake, in their eyes. There is a saying that it takes a village to raise a child, but does it, really? When you have next to no support network surrounding you, sometimes you just have to do your best. In those times that's when you learn that you don't learn to be parent, you just be one - even a flawed imperfect one like me. I make mistakes, and I have beaten myself up for yelling at my children for being naughty, long after they've forgotten about it. I'm better at keeping myself in check now. 

I try to be firm, and Mr Poppy supports me in my parenting choices. The children probably do have too much screen time, and I feed them a mix of home cooked and heated up meals. Sometimes dinner comes from a cardboard box (Kraft Mac and cheese), and so,etimes it's nothing but vegetables. But they are constantly reminded of their manners. Please and thank you are a must - even Miniman tries his best to say them, and both children know that if toys are out, anywhere but their bedrooms, then they have to help pick up. 

Like I said we have our good and bad days. Sometimes the best lessons come from a mistake when I can explain why I got mad and yelled, and I always say sorry if I do yell. It's a work in progress. I'd like to never yell ever again. But to be told that whatever I'm doing is working beautifully - that's a good day. That's the day where I stop and take stock, and examine where I can improve. 

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